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Home » Tournaments-and-Events » 2019 Gold Coast Flathead Classic

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Flathead Classic 2019

By Rob Payne

It was an absolutely crazy and unusual lead up to this year's Gold Coast Sportfishing Club's Flathead Classic.

Northerly and westerly winds dominated the weather patterns. The water around the Cabbage Tree Point, Jacobs Well and Jumpinpin where I usually fish were filthy and, on top of that, that horrid snot weed reared its ugly head a couple of weeks before the Classic.

To say that I was struggling to find fish was an understatement and my hopes of producing a worthy result for my team, Team Wilson, were somewhat dashed.

My prefishing consisted of checking out the waterways from just north of the Pin through to the Nerang River and I will put my hand up to say that I didn't land a fish some sessions, landed only 1-2 on others and the best day being six with Leeann and the kids on board with me.

Dirty water that resembled my morning coffee plagued regular spots and a lot of time was spent just motoring around trying to pinpoint the cleaner water without even wetting a lure.

Time was spent using different coloured lures, fishing both the shallows and the deeper water but mostly time was spent looking for new ground.

I also don't believe in flogging an area prior to the Classic and will often just arrive at an area, have a quick flick or troll and if I catch one, continue to the next spot.

It's also important to head out onto the water and fish the periods when it's hard to catch a fish.  Anyone can catch fish at low tide.  It's when the tide is up that the thinking hats have to be put on to work out how and where to target fish during the "quiet" stage of the tide.

It's no secret what lures my team uses and in conjunction with L. Wilson, we regularly commit ourselves to online seminars, podcasts as well as talks in tackle shops and the like to help other anglers catch fish.

Lure wise, the Zerek Tango Shads in the 50mm size are used for trolling with the 4.5" Flat Shads and 65mm Fish Traps the two go-to lures in my tackle box for casting and jigging scenarios.

Team Wilson didn't have a chance to prefish together however I spent three days fishing with team-mate Kord Luckus for a miserable total of eight fish!

We really headed into the Classic with low expectations and if we pulled off 6 fish per day in competition mode, we would have been happy.   On the plus side, the fishing had been tough for most people but there were teams that were producing good numbers.

What a turnaround we experienced on Day 1.

Team Wilson is adaptable when it comes to different techniques and over the years of fishing together have come up with strategies to fish diverse areas and with south-easterlies giving us favourable conditions, we began the competition strongly.

Working as a team in these comps is so important and Kord Luckus, Scott Fleming and myself have gelled together quite well, fish together well and most importantly really enjoy the fishing.

Kord was the first to brain the fish on his favourite lure, the 50mm Tango Shad in colour BL with lumi crazy eyes so Scott and I had to follow suit.

Only problem was that there was only one other lure in the boat so I rummaged around the boat for the Nikko pen and before long, we were all in the game landing fish.

After such a poor prefish we were delighted to have caught enough fish to be placed in 5th position, 700 points behind the Lowrance Black & Whyte Boyz who are a team that consistently do well at the Classic.

Day 2 we continued to consistently land fish and concentrated our efforts in the area from Millionaire's Row down to the Five-Ways keeping the fishing area contained to a small section as to eliminate travel times between productive spots.

Team Wilson had a miserable start a few years back when we started fishing up north due to a good session the day before.  Come comp day we were burnt badly and although we did catch a bloody good snapper, the flathead eluded us.  Once bitten, twice shy so we cut the travel time and concentrate on lures in the water.

The team was quite surprised to learn that we had made it up the leader board to first position on Day 2 which meant that there were a few teams that had a bad day, not that we minded.

Day three was going to be make or break with ten teams in contention for first position as the score board was exceptionally tight.

Once again we consistently caught the fish, this time trolling over the weed beds.  When trolling these areas it's important not to stir up with bottom with your prop as this can have a detrimental effect on the catch rate. 

Having had the most abysmal lead up to the Classic ever, we managed to hold onto our lead and take out Champion Team with Kord making the top ten in the anglers.

It was a tight content to the end with only 442 points between 1st and 5th position.

Thank you to Graeme Wilson from L. Wilson & Co for having faith in our team, the Gold Coast Sport Fishing Club for putting on this amazing even and to the other anglers that took part.

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